Sheffield Council consider review of all conservation areas

Sheffield Council wants to rethink all of its conservation areas in a review prompted by the transformation of Castlegate.

By Molly Williams, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 21 May, 2019, 12:08
Head of City Regeneration for Sheffield City Council, Simon Ogden overlooking the Castle Market site

The council say they want to ‘reflect the increasing amount of attention that Castlegate, and other parts of the city, are getting’.

The city has 38 conservation areas that contain historically important buildings, features and architecture.

But the idea of reviewing all areas has sparked concerns among some conservationists and heritage groups who are worried that a drive to put up new developments will override the principle of protecting historic sites.

The Victorian Society said it was ‘deeply concerning’ and added: “We recognise the need for regeneration and economic development but strongly believe this can be secured without damaging the precious and finite historic environment.

“Conservation areas are ultimately designated to shield the unique architectural and historic fabric of a place from threats such as demolition and needless alteration.

“This new revelation exhibits a blatant disregard for preserving what remains of the city’s rich history.”

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Concerns were raised after councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment, mentioned the idea in a letter to Joined Up Heritage, in which he wrote of a plan ‘to review all of the city’s conservation areas to ensure they remain fit for purpose in terms of delivering on their original objectives and not acting as a break on development.’

He has confirmed they are considering a full review but said they have not yet made any decisions.

Coun Iqbal said: “I met with Joined Up Heritage to discuss how we can address its concerns. I am also having discussions with officers about how the city’s conservation areas can move forward and reflect the increasing amount of attention that Castlegate, and other parts of the city, are getting.

“We have not made any decisions as yet but these will be communicated in due course. It is brilliant to see interest in so many buildings in Castlegate which show that the area is enjoying a new vibrancy and identity. Our planning team will work closely with developers and other interested parties to ensure this progress continues.”

Castlegate is the oldest part of the city and is being revamped with £786,000 funding from the council. A new conservation area is also being set up to protect it.